Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A New Record and the Real Meaning of Handicap Zero

Bill Miller's 223 and 12th 200 Game -- and 564 Series

At Quad Squad Bowling recently, I bowled my top score ever -- a 223 -- and my second best series of three games -- a 564.  Did you know that I'm paralyzed from my neck down and ventilator dependent?  And my that score is a legitimate world record for wheelchair users who drive via sip-and-puff?

All the above is true, and if you want to know more about how, why and/or to see pictures, checkout the below details and this blog entry about Quad Squad Bowling in general: click HERE!

Below I describe the record outing -- and keep reading for the real meaning of "Handicap Zero!"

My scoresheet (and this full story) is HERE.

Click HERE for the direct link to the scoresheet.

We had A LOT OF FUN at our recent central Florida Quad Squad Bowling outing. We had four power wheelchair bowlers / IKAN Users: Peggy, Lilian, Rhonda, and me; five volunteer caddies to help us: Linda, Nancy, Pat, June, and Marguerite -- and additional family, friends, and caregivers too -- a big crowd! And I almost missed the fun because the weather was so bad on our drive over that we stopped for a while and nearly decided to head home.

Anyway, after our weather delay, I was late starting, and Peggy wound up completing her second game and posting a 157 just as I was finishing my first game. A 157 is a solid start to the $20 "Quad Squad Challenge" (my Dad offers $20 to any IKAN User who can beat my top score of the day, which he says is for "ego" control, and I say is for fun and livelier competition:). Some days 157 will be the top score. Not this day.

The real fun started when my beloved caregiver / Aunt Jackie saw me needing to finish strong (with a spare and a good count in the 10th) after I bowled my first ball of the 10th frame. Jackie said loudly, "Hey Peggy, sit up (she was tilting back in her chair) and watch a grown man choke!!!"

Seemingly everyone started laughing at Jackie's comment, partially out of shock! My reply, was "Whose side are you on, anyway?!" It was all in good fun. But maybe that helped me concentrate a bit more on my 1-2-8 spare (the 1-2 are diagonal and close; the 8-pin is a sleeper behind the 2-pin) which I picked up (and looked like I knew what I was doing:). I didn't choke on the last ball either, needing six pins to surpass Peggy's 157 and getting nine to post a 161. And, yes, the crowd, including Jackie, cheered when I didn't choke after Jackie's friendly taunt.

Perhaps all that propelled me to bowl my best game ever in my second game of the day. But it only started out "average" after a spare in the 1st frame and an open frame in the 2nd -- on a nasty 4-10 split, which you can see on the detailed scoresheet HERE.

At the above link, you can see the pin placement for what I had left in the 2nd frame (and all the frames). That shot is possible, but extremely difficult due to the angle at which we must barely clip the left side of the 4-pin in order to get it to cross the lane and hit the 10-pin. My angle wasn't quite good enough, but I did get the 4-pin. Then I followed with two spares, and then a turkey -- three straight strikes! After another spare, I rolled another strike in my 9th frame and said to my caddy, Marguerite, "How about I strike out?"

That's bad in baseball but good in bowling (completing the rest of the game with nothing but strikes). It was partly "wishful thinking" when I said it, but I nearly did it. I rolled two more for another turkey, and had a good chance with my extra ball in the 10th (which appeared to be pretty well placed in the pocket) but my nemesis, the 10-pin, remained standing.

Nonetheless, the result was 223, which topped my previous best of 221 (click HERE for details). To God be the glory.

My goal for bowling, besides enjoying the camaraderie and fun with everyone, is to bowl a 500 series every time out -- which is a 166.7 average over three games. My typical average is about 150, so a 500 series represents some pretty quality bowling (to do so typically requires about 8 marks per game, unless several of the marks are consecutive strikes, which boost one's score much faster than solo strikes or spares).

After the first two games, I had 384 total pins, and thus only needed 116 for a 500 series. After bowling as well as I had, I would've been disappointed if I failed to reach 500 pins. Fortunately, I still had my "A game" for the most part, and posted a 180 for a 564 series -- my second best series ever.

My best series ever was a 570 (169, 206, and 195: click HERE for details). 

My bowling performance that day was slightly better overall because I had fewer strikes in the three games, and thus had to convert more spares. But in both that series and this series, I only missed two non-split spare attempts in my three games. That's why they are my best two bowling performances.

But what is my favorite thing about such bowling performances?

Below my name on the scoresheet, it says "Hdcp 0" i.e. "Handicap ZERO!"

Technically, that means we aren't bowling in a league or tournament and therefore aren't using our averages as something called a bowling "handicap" for the event.

However, I choose to view "Handicap Zero" as the number of limitations on those of us who bowl with an IKAN Bowler via our wheelchairs, which are necessary due to significant physical disabilities.  Despite such physical disabilities, the IKAN Bowler gives us a fair "playing field" on which to compete (so says the United States Bowling Congress -- and users like little ol' me:).

"Handicap Zero" is also a mindset I choose to use in approaching life. Sure, I'm currently a quadriplegic and thus must do some things differently and require assistance for others, but I can still accomplish much -- WE ALL CAN -- in this game called life -- if we keep a positive mindset and think of what we can do and disregard the rest.

Some final notes on this bowling outing: Peggy makes some spare pickups look real easy. Rhonda is trying to find her bowling "groove" again after not being able to bowl for several months. And Lilian is trying to find her left-handed bowling groove (she recently switched from righty-style to lefty-style for strike attempts). But we all had fun, and Rhonda put the exclamation point on the day as she was the last bowler to finish and did so with a strike in her 10th frame to the sound of many cheers.

Thanks for reading -- and God bless!!!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com